Fishing in Toyamago

It’s been quite a while since my last post, but I’ve been alive!
This past weekend I went to Toyamago, a town full of nature in the heart of Nagano prefecture, in order to fish in the beautiful rivers.


I arrived in Toyamago on a rainy afternoon. For lunch I went into Hoshinoya, a local restaurant that serves delicious wild animal meat such as deer, bear, and boar. The photos are taken in the basement taxidermy collection of the owner. Pretty cute right?


By the time I reached the inn for my trip – Shimabata Inn- the rain had stopped. As the river I was going to go fishing in, is right in front of the inn, I check up and down the stream, and located several spots to fish. I gave my rod a try, but no luck this afternoon.


The next morning I woke up at around 5AM, and headed upstream. The area was still dark, so I carefully chose my steps up the road, watching out for puddles and wild snakes (yes there are many).


Near a bridge, I found a wide open area full of rocks that I can set up my fishing activity.



This is the fishing permit that I carried with me all around. You can buy them at local inns and restaurants.


I used salmon roe as bait, and after about an hour I caught my first fish. I deployed the techniques I learned from my fishing instructor back in June in Aomori. Don’t let your shadows show in the river – the fish know you’re there. Try to keep the bait slightly above the riverbed so it looks natural. When you feel a tug, don’t pull too hard just yet – be patient and wait for it to really bite into the hook.


The first catch was an Iwana. Because it was relatively small I unhooked it and released it back into the river. After three more hits of similar sized Iwana, I got a relatively bigger one. I decided to take this one home.


In total I caught six of them, and I brought home the one that was big enough.
The “mom” of the inn very kindly fried the Iwana for me. It was delicious!


What I really enjoy about fishing is the initial vibration when the fish bites into the bait. They’re careful creatures, so they bite little by little. It’s a game between you and the fish, and pure it is more than pure strength.